Which five players should Leeds United have sold on transfer deadline day?
Leeds United had a busy transfer window, with 15 players coming in and 19 leaving Elland Road. However, their deadline day business infuriated a number of their fans, with forwards Matt Smith - who had recently signed a new three-year contract with the club - and Dominic Poleon leaving the Whites for a combined total of roughly £600,000. Whilst comparatively good business when looked at from one perspective, with neither player guaranteed a starting role with Billy Sharp and Mirco Antenucci set to lead the Whites front-line, it is when Smith and Poleon are compared with the players who remained at the club that fans have responded negatively.
There are a select number of players whom are generally disliked by the majority of Leeds fans, and, it should have been these five players who left the club on deadline day.
Irish international Hunt arrived at Elland Road in 2013, and featured 20 times last season, failing to score. The 31-year old forward has enjoyed productive spells with Dundee United and Championship rivals Reading, although his career has stalled since his move to Leeds. A failure to impress last season saw playing time limited, and his 58 minute spell in the opening day defeat to Millwall has been his only action this season. Commonly seen as overweight and slightly unfit, the recent acquisitions of Sharp and Antenucci will restrict playing opportunities further. A fee could have been received for the player however, as his qualities will still make him a highly wanted player - but for a lower division team.
In much the same situation as Hunt, 31-year old striker Morison moved to Elland Road in January 2013, spending half a season with the Whites, scoring three goals in 15 appearances. Last season saw a loan spell with Millwall bring a return of eight goals in 41 games, although the former Norwich man returned to Yorkshire this summer. Hopes of a fresh start failed to materialise this season, and, with the arrivals of the new striking talent, Morison looks unlikely to be making an impact anytime soon. With still a few years left on his contract, he will likely demand a fee, and any Championship club looking for a big target man will be wise to take a chance on the Wales international.
An initial loan spell with Leeds in 2012 season was fairly impressive for the 31-year old midfielder, and the club were intelligent enough to sign the former Sheffield United man on a permanent deal in January 2013. His first season at Elland Road proved to be his most productive, with his 35 games bringing a return of four goals in the Championship. The former England Under-21 international could muster just 23 league appearances last season, and although the current season has started brightly - with three starts in five games - the ageing midfielder has looked out of place in an increasingly technical team. Tommaso Bianchi and Casper Sloth have done much to impress in the opening weeks, whilst AC Milan loanee Zan Benedicic and Brazil youth international Adryan have yet to make their mark of the multi-national midfield. With their arrivals, Tonge will fail to even find a place on the bench, and a move to a low end Championship club would have guaranteed him first-team football.
Still only 24, former Crewe youth product and captain Murphy moved to Elland Road for a reported fee of over £1 million in 2013. The attacking midfielder netted three goals in 37 games in his first season in the Championship, and he was a key player in the under performing Whites side. He has made four league appearances so far this season, and, whilst not reaching the heights set last season, he has performed with ease. However, much like Tonge, Murphy is being ousted from the first-team squad by the more talented foreign imports. It is unlikely that the Englishman will be able to reclaim the attacking midfield position back from one-time Manchester United target Adryan, and he should be searching elsewhere for playing opportunities. Because of his age and talents, a considerable fee could be received for Murphy, allowing reinvestment without losing a key player.
A third central midfielder, David Norris, failed to make a single league appearance for Leeds last season, and that is likely to be the same this year. The 33-year old joined the Whites from Portsmouth in 2012, and featured 30 times in his debut season. Despite a series of knee injuries that kept him out of playing time, he was out of favour under manager Brian McDermott and the career of the ageing midfielder looks to be over. However, a move away from Elland Road would allow him to receive playing time elsewhere, as well as removing his name from the wage bill. The former Ipswich and Plymouth man is being paid despite his exclusion from the playing squad, and with the thrifty Massimo Cellino in charge, it was a surprise to see the 33-year old still at the club following the closing of the transfer window.